The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) warns the public against the activities of a series of new fraudulent online trading platforms that are operating in Belgium.
The FSMA has, in these past months, received many complaints from consumers concerning various online trading platforms.
These trading platforms try to arouse consumers’ curiosity by placing scam ads on social media such as Facebook. In these fake ads, a well-known person often explains how to get rich quick.
After clicking on the ad and having given their contact details, the victims are usually swiftly called by fraudsters presenting a concrete investment proposal (in shares, alternative investment products, virtual currencies, etc.).
These platforms act very aggressively. Scammers even try to persuade the victims to allow them to take control of their computer remotely in order to make certain money transfers. The fraudsters also try to convince the victims to invest increasingly higher amounts of money.
Victims who agree to do so complain in particular about:
- finding themselves unable to recover their money, or
- simply not hearing any more from the platform with which they have invested their money.
These are most likely cases of investment fraud.
These past months, the FSMA has already warned repeatedly against the activities of some of these trading platforms. Various new trading platforms have appeared on the internet in recent weeks.
The FSMA therefore strongly advises against responding to any offers of financial services made by the following new trading platforms:
- Beflix (www.beflix.net)
- Blue Lexus (www.bluelexus.net)
- CFReserve (www.CFReserve.com)
- OptionFX (www.optionfx.trade)
- Trade Idea (www.tradeidea.co)
The FSMA has drawn up a list of companies operating unlawfully in Belgium about which it has received enquiries/complaints from consumers and for which it has identified signs of fraud. It is recommended that would-be investors check this list. Important notice: this list is based solely on the findings of the FSMA, in particular as a result of consumers’ reports. As such, it does not include all the companies which might be operating unlawfully in Belgium in that sector.
In order to avoid fraud, the FSMA addresses the following recommendations to investors:
- Always check the identity (company name, home country, registered office, etc.) of the company. If the company cannot be clearly identified, it should not be trusted.
- Always verify if the company in question has the requisite authorization. To this end, an easy search on the financial supervisory authority’s website will do. Important! Always beware of ‘cloned firms’: companies that pass themselves off as different, lawful companies even though they have no connection with them. A close look at the email addresses or contact details for the companies in question may prove useful in order to detect this type of fraud and prevent it.
More than ever, prudence is necessary. In case of any doubt, and before making any (more) payments, do not hesitate to contact the FSMA using the consumer contact form. As well, please feel free to notify it of any contact with a suspicious company that has not yet been the subject of a warning by the FSMA.
Should fraudsters moreover manage to take control of your computer, the FSMA recommends that you contact your bank and, if necessary, that you change your passwords.
For more recommendations aimed at avoiding investment fraud, the FSMA invites investors to consult the 'How to recognize and avoid fraud?' page on its website.